With the end of the academic year fast approaching, we thought we would shine some light on the benefits of group learning. Whether it’s a piano duet, a small ensemble, a group drama or a duologue, working alongside peers enables a learner to generate their own ideas and listen to others in the process. Working as part of a group is an important part of a student’s artistic and personal development.
Students working together through music-making, group discussion and performance in a socially charged setting enables participation and personal growth. Straying from the teacher-led approach, we encourage an active learning environment with a student-centred approach to learning. We know each student is different, so here are some tips on how you can bring each student’s individual abilities to the fore:
When planning your group lesson it is important to take into consideration that the teaching room is carefully set up with clear visuals of all students. Ensure that you have a clear and well-thought-out lesson plan, but be prepared for the unexpected and make adjustments as needed. Make sure that your lesson plan has clear and manageable objectives for your students, taking into account the varying ability of each student. It is important to be aware of all students within the group and ensure that the instructions are understood by all before embarking on an exercise. Be aware that some students may need individual help, and you should have another exercise ready for the remaining students (e.g. rhythm work, adding notes to their workbook/notebook, improvisation). See our blog post on Improvisation in the Classroom for some quick tips.
Group Performance and Involvement
Working alongside peers helps students generate new ideas and communicate effectively. As part of the learner experience, seeing others perform provides motivation for young students. Through listening and evaluating each other’s performance in a positive environment, learners are encouraged to try new things and develop their own confidence in performing in front of others, all while building friendships in the process. Encourage students to constructively comment on specific features of each other’s performance and to comment on their own group performance together as a whole. We all know that it is important to motivate students in each lesson and encourage participation. Rather than the teacher-led approach, think about the learner and embrace each student’s abilities by allowing them to:
- Explain a technical musical/drama term or the meaning of a particular word to the group.
- Lead an improvisation with a particular rhythm from their work or choose a specific theme from their chosen drama.
- Mentor other students within the group – this, in turn, will encourage practise, participation and development of group performance.
- Lead a performance or a certain aspect of the lesson to the wider group.